In the spot­light

Lo­cal drama en­thu­si­asts were on stage dur­ing the Kon­certs for Kids per­for­mance of Trea­sure Is­land Page A3

The Southwest Booster - - FRONT PAGE - ELIS­A­BETH DOW­SON edow­[email protected]­

The Kon­certs 4 Kids pre­sen­ta­tion of the Mis­soula Chil­dren’s The­atre’s mu­si­cal, Trea­sure Is­land, was a de­light for the ap­pre­cia­tive au­di­ences and all the chil­dren who were for­tu­nate enough to be cho­sen to par­tic­i­pate.

MCT’s Trea­sure Is­land is a play crafted care­fully to en­sure suc­cess through the com­pany’s man­date of in­volv­ing lo­cal chil­dren in their tour­ing drama pro­duc­tions.

With au­di­tions tak­ing place Mon­days and the plays pre­sented Fri­days, the mu­sic, lyrics, speak­ing parts and stag­ing have to be easy to learn and flex­i­ble enough to al­low for an oc­ca­sional glitch or case of stage fright.

Pres­ley Red­dekopp was well-cast as young Jim Hawkins, a new ex­pe­ri­ence for her be­cause of the num­ber and du­ra­tion of her speak­ing parts and also the fact that she was cast in a boy’s role.

“It was re­ally fun,” said Red­dekop. “I just love act­ing. I don’t do it that of­ten, but it was re­ally good. It took a lot of work. We learned it in five days, so that was pretty new.” She ad­mit­ted it was chal­leng­ing to play the role of Jim. “I had to try my hard­est to be a boy, and still be a girl.”

Katie’B Jarvis, tour di­rec­tor and ac­tor who played Long Jane Sil­ver (wife of the dearly de­parted Long John Sil­ver), was on-stage through­out the pro­duc­tion, ei­ther in-role or as salty nar­ra­tor, to en­sure that any for­got­ten lines were smoothed over with the least amount of em­bar­rass­ment to the chil­dren as pos­si­ble.

The play was in­no­va­tive on all fronts, from the beau­ti­ful quick-change set de­signs to the in­clu­sion of 35 ex­tras (18 Vil­lagers and 17 Seag­ulls) to give as many chil­dren as pos­si­ble the lifechang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of a live stage pro­duc­tion.

Pi­anist Elaine Driedger, who also ac­com­pa­nied last year’s inaugural MCT pro­duc­tion, said the mu­sic for Trea­sure Is­land was less chal­leng­ing to play, but easy for the kids to learn.

“It’s re­ally quite amaz­ing to see the pro­duc­tion come to­gether day by day. Katie’B is ter­rific with the kids. By mid-week, she knew ev­ery­one’s names,” Driedger noted.

As the story un­folded, the seag­ulls en­deared them­selves to the au­di­ence and in­di­vid­ual char­ac­ter­i­za­tions quickly emerged in both the flock of birds and the crowd of vil­lagers. The Pi­rates, Cap’n Patches (Tay­lor Bezan­son), Davey the Let­ter­man (Gage Haubrich), Sing Sing Sam (Re­becca Treen), Goldie the Hun (Kay­den Funk), and the trio of Rosie Red (Faith Wall), Whitey (Austin Shopa) and Big Ol’ Blue (Raisa Stad­nyk) of­fered well de­vel­oped in­ter­pre­ta­tions that con­tin­ued to evolve as the play un­folded.

Jim’s Mother Hawkins (De­siree Leonard) ca­pa­bly schooled Jim’s sis­ters Jean­nie (Hanna Tor­grim­son), Janie (Dakota Leonard), Jen­nie (Al­li­son Luchen­ski), Joanie (Kennedy ChooFoo), Jin­nie (Ka­cie Auger) and Jan (Cierra Kohls) in the art of “Ser­vice With a Smile” as hostesses of the fam­ily’s Whales­breath Inn, while se­cretly con­spir­ing with them to watch out for their way­ward brother.

Jim Hawkins’ rak­ish friends, cast as The Ruf­fi­ans (Cas­sidy Du­quette, Luke Wil­son and El­liott Gross), hap­pily fol­lowed Jim to sea with Long Jane and her Pi­rates.

Af­ter a bit of in­trigue, the play came to a sat­is­fy­ing con­clu­sion when Cap’n Flint, Sil­ver’s long lost par­rot, is re­united with the crew and the “Trea­sure” is re­vealed to be the spirit of co­op­er­a­tion needed to achieve a com­mon goal.

Five “Jolly Rogers” go to Kon­certs 4 Kids, their cor­po­rate and in-kind spon­sors, Mis­soula Chil­dren’s The­atre co-founder Jim Caron (writer) and Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Michael McGill (com­poser), and ev­ery­one who helped to make this pro­duc­tion a fresh and lively de­light that is cer­tain to in­spire a new gen­er­a­tion of ac­tors in the Swift Cur­rent re­gion.

An ac­cord is reached! Cap’n Long Jane Sil­ver con­vinces young Jim Hawkins to bring his trea­sure map and his Ruf­fian friends on an ad­ven­ture to Trea­sure Is­land.

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